VICTORY! FLAUM WORKERS AND URI L'TZEDEK CELEBRATE
LARGE, GLOBAL SETTLEMENT FOR LABOR VIOLATIONS
After a 2 year national campaign, Flaum Appetizing, a prominent kosher food producer and distributor, has accepted a global settlement which will return over $500,000 to workers for labor violations, including wage theft, overtime violations and more, in their New York factories. The victory comes after a long campaign fought by the workers' group, Focus on the Food Chain and Uri L'Tzedek. Rabbis and Jewish activists, led by Uri L'Tzedek, working in deep partnership with the workers of Flaums, were able to raise communal consciousness, garner the support of dozens of grocery stores and food companies, direct media attention to the cause of the workers, and ultimately broker a settlement between the owners of Flaums and the workers.
"This is a triple victory - a victory for the workers who have finally achieved justice after a long, hard struggle, a victory for Jewish activism and its potential to create real, tangible change, and a victory for Flaums for stepping up, doing the right thing and emerging a better company,"said Rabbi Ari Hart, co-founder of Uri L'Tzedek and assistant rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. "I look forward to once again eating Sonny and Joe's hummus at my Shabbat table, and I encourage businesses and consumers to support Flaums."
Dasi Fruchter, a leading college activist from the Uri L'Tzedek side, organized hundreds of kosher consumers around the cause. "As a basic element of the human experience, there are many connections between food and power, and as a result, many injustices have coalesced around its production. As a community who sees their relationship to food as sacred, we have a unique responsibility to make sure that what feeds and sustains us is not perpetuating these wrongs."
"More than anything, I want fellow workers in the food factories and warehouses to know that there is real power in coming together and struggling together," said Maria Corona, a Focus on the Food Chain member and Flaum worker who had been illegally fired. "We won the respect we deserve and they can too."
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Uri L'Tzedek and Food Justice: Focus on Flaum's
"You shall not oppress a hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of your brethren, or of your strangers that are in your land within your gates. In the same day you shall give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and he made himself dependent on you; lest he cry against you to G-d and it be sin for you."
Treating workers, of all races and religions, with dignity, respect, and fairness is in line with fundamental Jewish values and law as expressed by the Torah and Halacha. As a company that serves and represents these laws and values, it is incumbent upon Flaum's Appetizing to pay back these wages.
We are deeply troubled that Flaum's demonstrated a pattern of exploiting immigrant workers, by interfering with their right to freely organize, as documented by an NLRB ruling, and for a pattern of persistent wage theft as outlined by a federal lawsuit.
We are deeply troubled that when those workers took legal action to stand up for better treatment, they were all illegally fired, including those with over 10 years with the company.
We are deeply troubled that legal bodies in the United States have ordered Flaum's to pay restitution to these workers, and the company has yet to comply with these orders.
We ask the following from Flaum's appetizing: Please comply with the court order and pay the approximately $270,000 you owe to your former workers for illegal labor practices and address the hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid overtime. Until this happens, we feel compelled to refrain from purchasing or consuming the products Flaum's makes or distributes. We call upon other consumers to do the same, until this matter is resolved.
Read Press about the Flaum's Appetizing Campaign: